JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2020, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (5): 1017-1029.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20200501

• Resources and Strategy •     Next Articles

Improvement of human sustainable development index and international comparison

BI Ming-li1, XIE Gao-di2, YAO Cui-you1   

  1. 1. College of Management Engineering, Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing 100070, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2019-02-16 Online:2020-05-28 Published:2020-05-28


It is an inevitable requirement to modify human development index (HDI) with greenness and fairness indicators. Using ecological footprint, this paper tried to construct the human-ecological sustainable development index (HEDI) based on panel data of 28 countries from 1990 to 2014, and analyzed the contribution of sub-indicators to HEDI with the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) decomposition approach. Fairness was adjusted to construct a comprehensive human-ecological sustainable development index (cHEDI) that could fully reflect the degree of economy, society, ecology and equal development comprehensively. We analyzed the spatial and temporal changes of HEDI and cHEDI with the index in 28 countries around the world. The results show that developed countries with high biomass surplus are highly sustainable, ranking higher than other countries. One of the main factors affecting sustainable development is high carbon emissions in these countries. Besides the high carbon emissions, the shortage of biomass resources is another unsustainable reason in the developed countries with biomass deficit, which maintain development by transferring assets from other countries. Unfairness leads to a decline in comprehensive sustainability in the United States. From 1990 to 2014, income and education in developing countries increased rapidly, but ecological consumption and Gini coefficient continued to rise, and the inhibitory effect gradually expanded to increase the unsustainability of development. The sustainability index of the United States and developing countries is greatly affected by the Gini coefficient. The United Arab Emirates ranked last in the world, with the least sustainable development mode. Although its income ranked first in the world, biomass and energy consumption was very high, and the Gini coefficient far exceeded that of other countries. The development of the least developed countries mainly came from contribution of health, education and low ecological consumption. Barren natural assets limited their further development. Different countries have different shortcomings in human sustainable development. The sub-divisions were highly correlated, hence to achieve the high level of human sustainable development requires better balance between society, economy, greenness, and fairness.

Key words: human sustainable development index, ecological footprint, LMDI, fairness